Are There Really Six Secrets of Change?

I usually recommend books when the holiday shopping season gets underway so those who enjoy reading can pick them up as gifts for themselves, or can share the suggestions with others when their asked for gift ideas. One that has had a profound influence on me (in addition to other titles like “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown and “How the World Sees You” by Sally Hogshead) is “The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive” by Michael Fullan.  He’s also the author of “Change Leader” and “Leading in a Culture of Change.”

As a school administrator, are you leading your school through a time of great change?  Are you overwhelmed with the responsibility of helping your school to survive?  If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, this is a text for you.  It was published in 2008 by Jossey-Bass, and is available at your local bookseller, Amazon.com or BN.com.

But since these Tetrahedronics articles are based on “pentelemental” (5 element) systems, I would say there are five secrets, with the sixth being the emergent principle of the system.  What are these secrets?

1) Love Your Employees

2) Connect Peers With Purpose

3) Capacity Building Prevails

4) Learning Is the Work

5) Transparency Rules

Fullan says that the sixth secret is Systems Learn, but since the five elements create a system, it would seem that this is the emergent property of the system created by the secrets numbered 1 through 5.

Want to learn more about these secrets?  After all, faith-based schools teach that we should love one another.  We also know that learning is a school’s raison d’etre, and know that parents, school boards and finance councils want transparency.  So what are elements 2 and 3 all about?

You’ll have to read the book for a complete explanation, but item 2 really speaks to how Marketing needs to connect with your school’s parent communities (current, future and past), alumni communities, and community/business communities.

Item 3 speaks to “capacity,” which deals with “competencies, resources, and motivation.”  While item 2 deals with things outside the walls of the organization, item 3 deals with those inside – hiring the right people, making sure they have resources, and foster the proper motivating atmosphere.  For instance, when you think about criticizing an employee, is it because something is happening in their life, it is because you’re not providing them with what they need to succeed, or is it because something the organization has done to change its focus, and the employee is trying to adjust.  I’m reminded of an organization that was in growth mode, and therefore shifted its operational staffing to prepare for that growth.  Unfortunately, the management wanted to maximize the growth to their investors, changed leaders, and then shifted to staff for efficiency.  Continued growth led to more and more work to be put on a leaner staff, and motivation deteriorated, affecting the service capacity of the organization.

Just as a preview as to how powerful this text is, page 9 of the Preface states, “Nothing is more important in the twenty-first century than learning to manage change.”  If that’s stated in the Preface, just imagine what’s in the rest of it!

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2012-2018